Detection of COVID-19 Antibodies in 10-12 seconds with a 3D printed test chip

Image of COVID-19 test chip made by 3D printing of aerosol jet nanoparticles. Credit: Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Laboratory, Carnegie Mellon University of Engineering

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have reported findings on an advanced biosensitivity platform based on nanomaterials that detect antibodies specific within a few seconds. SARS-CoV-2, responsible for the virus COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to testing, it will help the patient accurately count the immune response of patients given new vaccines.

The results have just been published in the journal Advanced materials. Carnegie Mellon’s collaborators included the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) and the UPMC.

The test platform identifies that two of the virus’s antibodies, the spike S1 protein and the receptor binding domain (RBD), are present in a very small drop of blood (about 5 microliters). Antibody concentrations can be very low and can be detected below a picomolar (0.15 nanograms per milliliter). This detection takes place inside an microfluidic device in the hand by means of an electrochemical reaction which sends the results almost immediately to a simple smartphone interface.

“We used the latest advances in materials and fabrication to create a device that quickly detects COVID-19 antibodies, such as 3D printing of nanoparticles,” said Rahul Panat, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon. from brain-computer interfaces to biomonitoring devices.

Aerosol jet 3D printing technology called additional manufacturing efficiency and accuracy test platform. Small, inexpensive gold micropile electrodes are printed on a nanoscale using thermally sintered aerosol droplets. This results in a rough and uneven surface, which increases the surface area of ​​the micropiles and enhances the electrochemical reaction, where the antibodies adhere to the antigens coated on the electrode. Accurate geometry allows micropiles to be loaded with more protein for detection, resulting in very accurate and fast results.

The test has a very low error rate because the binding reaction between the antibody and the antigen used in the device is very selective. Researchers were able to take advantage of this natural design for their own good.

The results are urgent during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Because our technique can quantify the immune response to the vaccine, it is very important in today’s environment,” Panat said.

Panat collaborated with Shou-Jiang Gao, a leader in the cancer virology program at UPMC’s Hillman Cancer Center and a professor of microbiology and molecular genetics at Pitt. Azahar Ali Panat, a researcher at the Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Laboratory, was the lead author of the study.

Rapid diagnosis of the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases is a public health problem that exceeds the current COVID-19 pandemic. Because the proposed detection platform is generic, it can be used for rapid detection of biomarkers in the case of infectious agents such as Ebola, HIV, and Zika. Such a quick and effective test can be a game changer to control the spread of disease.

Reference: “Detection of COVID-19 antibodies in seconds reduced by nanoprinted aerosol sprays graphene oxide-coated three-dimensional electrodes ”Md. Azahar Ali, Chunshan Hu, Sanjida Jahan, Bin Yuan, Mohammad Sadeq Saleh, Enguo Ju, Shou – Jiang Gao and Rahul Panat, December 22, 2020, Advanced materials.
DOI: 10.1002 / adma.202006647

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